Oct 19 2009
First and foremost, David Farley is a (self-proclaimed) awesome dancer. Secondly, Farley is the author of An Irreverent Curiosity and has travel essays in Travelers’ Tales Best Travel Writing 2009, Travelers’ Tales Prague, and 30 Days in Italy–as well as in numerous magazines and newspapers. And wait, there’s more: he also writes for WorldHum.com. We had so much fun asking Rolf Potts some questions we decided to see if one of our other favorite travel writers would answer and even be up for our version of The Hemingway Challenge. He was kind enough to respond.
1) Do you prefer aisle or window? (Please explain.)
Always the aisle. I like to move about the cabin whenever the spirit strikes me and if I’m sitting at the window, I’m stuck there, lest I want to pester the person sitting at the aisle (which I don’t). Extra special bonus lovely seat: the aisle seat in an exit row.
2) Have you ever pretended that you were Canadian while overseas?
Never. And I never will.
My philosophy about putting a Canadian flag on your backpack is this: just don’t act like an entitled jerk and don’t be an ignoramus and people will treat you with respect. You don’t need to stitch the flag of another country on your bag to earn the respect of other people.
3) When you moved to Italy to research An Irreverent Curiosity, your dog Abraham Lincoln also relocated to Calcata, Italy. What are some of the differences about being a dog owner in Italy to being one in New York City?
I quickly learned the words “maschio” and “femmina.” Masculine and feminine. Whenever you’re walking your dog and encounter another canine, the owner will always ask: “maschio?” They do this because no one neuters their dogs in Italy—they think it’s barbaric—so they want to know if the two dogs are both male. Unneutered male dogs are much more aggressive with each other. I also learned the pissing spot of choice for dogs in Italy is the tires of parked cars. Abraham Lincoln quickly adapted to this characteristic. Dogs are also allowed in most restaurants, so it was quite fun just walking into a restaurant with a dog on a leash. Sometimes we’d take off the leash and let him run around and play with the other dogs. As long as the other dogs weren’t a “maschio,” of course.
4) For the non-expert, how would you best try to infiltrate the Vatican?
Some crampons and a rope would do. So would a pope outfit, which can be purchased at any Halloween superstore. Or you can do like I did and get a job teaching at a university and show up with a letter saying that you in fact teach at a university. That will at least get you in to the Vatican Library.
5) In your article “How to Write a Bad Travel Story,” you suggest comparing one country to another- as in “Croatia is the next Italy, Montenegro is the next Croatia, Albania is the next Montenegro.” Please indulge us in some bad travel writing and fill in blanks.
Boston is the next Budapest.
New Prague, MN is the next city to be called the “New Prague.”
Prague is the next Albania.
6) When you were learning Italian, you wrote that you were an avid reader of the Italian magazine Diva e Donna (Diva and Woman). Did you learn any good fashion tips that you can share with us?
Attitude trumps everything.
7) Hemingway Challenge: Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write a novel in six words. What’s your six word travel story?
Sleep, walk, eat, drink, sleep, eat.Read more: An Irreverent Curiosity, Author Crush, Author Interview, Book Reviews, David Farley, Travel, Travel, Travel Writing
Lisa can usually be found staring longingly at the Eastern European shelf at the Globe Corner Bookstore. However, she really wants to go to Colombia.